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Auto blogFri, 21 Jun 2013 14:00:00 EST
Earlier this month, rumors started to swirl 'round the web about the next-generation Ford SVT Mustang - the halo version of the all-new 2015 'Stang seen testing in the gallery above. Originally, we heard that the Shelby GT500 moniker would be dumped in favor of "a name you're familiar with," which some sources guessed could mean a return of the Cobra nameplate.
That might not be correct. According to Road & Track, citing a report from Mustangs Daily, the new range-topping Mustang will bring back the Shelby GT350 name - currently used on an aftermarket version of Ford's Pony produced by Shelby American (take a look at our recent Quick Spin of that car). Expect the new GT350 to be quite a bit different than the current GT500 - it will be all motor, using a V8 that's derived from the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter Coyote engine (though it will no doubt have a higher displacement). The GT350 will be a lot more powerful than the next Mustang GT, which is expected to offer something like 450 horsepower, but won't be quite as absurd as the 662-horsepower GT500 we currently enjoy.
The Shelby GT350 will reportedly bow with the rest of the new Mustang range at the 2014 New York Auto Show, which coincides exactly with the original Mustang's debut at the New York World's Fair in 1964. If that seems far out, don't worry, we'll be seeing the rest of the 2015 Mustang range before then, but Road & Track reports that the 2014 Detroit Auto Show stage will be reserved for the reveal of the next Ford F-150 pickup.
With a number of 2015 Ford Mustang versions finally available to configure, the fun of speculating about next year's high-performance 'Stang can now begin. It looks like Ford has something seriously fun planned too. One of our spy photographers just snapped some fresh pics of the 2016 Mustang SVT, which is believed to be hiding the final body shape under all of that heavy camouflage.
Ford clearly doesn't want prying eyes looking at its new pride and joy. It would be hard to put much more obfuscation on a car than this one wears - it even has mesh baffles around the exhausts to conceal how many there are and panels over the wheels to hide their design. However, the Blue Oval can't keep everything a secret. The biggest clue that something special is hidden underneath is the massive hood bulge and vent in front of it. Clearly, whatever is under there is hungry for cool air. The shape of the camo indicates that there may be fender vents on each side, and there are also obscured outlets behind the front wheels likely to pull cool air through the brakes. At the rear, the concealment does its job, making it hard to observe any big changes. The fact that Ford wants it kept such a secret might indicate something, though.
A few photos of the interior show far less cover than the outside. You can easily make out the model's 6,500 rpm redline with a possible 7,000 rpm over-rev function. The big Recaro sport seats also look quite supportive.
The mind behind the look of much of the modern Ford global range is retiring. Martin Smith, Head of Ford Design in Europe, will give up his position on July 1 and will leave the company altogether at the end of the year. He will be replaced by current Strategic Concepts Group leader Joel Piaskowski (pictured above).
Smith has led Ford of Europe design for the past 10 years, and he was partially responsible for the brand's Kinetic Design language with a large grille and swept-back headlights found on the Focus, Fiesta and C-Max, as well as several other vehicles abroad. After stepping down on July 1 until his retirement at the end of 2014, Smith will work on a project to decide the future direction of the company's look with Moray Callum, its vice president of design.
Piaskowski already has some impressive credentials in terms of automotive design as well. He joined Ford in 2010 as director of exterior design and led the teams responsible for the 2015 Ford Mustang and next-generation F-150. He was also previously design director at Ford Asia Pacific. Before working at the Blue Oval, Piaskowski held positions at Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and General Motors. Scroll down to read the complete announcement of this changing of the guard.